Multiple Benefits Provided by an On-Farm Water Storage System in East Mississippi

Author(s): Tagert, M.; Paz, J.; Karki, R.; Perez-Gutierrez, J.

A growing number of farmers in East Mississippi have been interested in implementing irrigation to increase yields and reduce risk during periods of infrequent rainfall. However, it is not economically feasible, or even possible in some areas, to use groundwater for irrigation in East Mississippi. Farmers must instead rely solely on surface water for irrigation. Some farmers are able to obtain a permit to withdraw surface water from a nearby stream, but this source also carries the risk of being inadequate in times of sparse rainfall during the growing season. On-farm water storage (OFWS) systems are a better solution for providing water for irrigation in East Mississippi, and these systems are being implemented by producers in this region. After installation of an OFWS system, the pond is commonly gravity-fed by rainfall-runoff collected throughout the year, and fields are typically irrigated using sprinkler irrigation. Storage ponds in East Mississippi are larger than those used conjunctively with groundwater, because they must hold enough water to irrigate a given area throughout the entire growing season. This presentation will discuss the multiple benefits provided by an OFWS system in the Middle Tombigbee–Lubbub watershed (HUC 0316106) in East Mississippi, including reduction of downstream nutrient and sediment runoff and the quantity of surface water provided for irrigation which subsequently increased crop yields.

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